Tuesday, January 21, 2014

When There's No More Hope

I can clearly remember the first time I visited For the Animals Sanctuary.  It was a time in my life that was really stressful. I had a lot of things going on at once and had been going through the death of a loved one. I headed to FTA because ever since I went vegan I wanted to visit a farm animal sanctuary, and I had heard about this little family-operated one in NJ that I just had to check out. After taking part in a Halloween fundraising event for the sanctuary and meeting Debbie and Theresa, I decided to participate in one of their volunteer work parties.

The best part of the day was getting to spend time with the animals after all the hard work was over. And one of the sanctuary's residents, Hope, really stood out. She was a dairy cow before she was rescued. She had been raped and impregnated multiple times and had all of her babies stolen from her every time. You could see the damage that was done to her hips as a result of the abuse, the confinement, the depletion of nutrients from her body as a result of the terrible life she once led.

But now Hope was a powerful, beautiful female energy. She was calm and approachable, unafraid of all the new human faces. At one point, she looked right at me and I reached out my hand, which she gently touched with her nose and licked with her rough cat-like tongue. I am so happy to have a photo of that precious and unforgettable moment hanging on my fridge to this day.

Hope has since left the sanctuary. Her hips eventually gave out---a long-held fear that had finally come true for the sanctuary staff one winter---and she had to be euthanized. I remember reading the heartbreaking news, thinking about everything that she had been through and how she never deserved to suffer. Yet, after everything that she had endured, she managed to forgive and to love people. She was a gentle yet powerful soul all at once, and one that truly touched my spirit in a profound way.

I can't imagine the immense pain that Hope felt every time she had to see yet another one of her babies stolen from her to be killed for meat or to be raised for milk like her. The farmers didn't view her as a sentient being; they saw her as a machine they could use for their own profit. And when they were done with her, they were going to kill her. Thankfully, though, she was one of the very few lucky ones who was rescued. And when Amy, a calf saved from being left to die in a stall, came to FTA, Hope adopted her as her own child and became her mother. She finally got to be a mom, and she was the perfect guide and guardian to Amy as she grew.

Hope may not physically be at the sanctuary anymore, but her energy was too strong to simply fade away. She is the reason I follow a vegan lifestyle. She was a symbol for everything that's wrong with the way animals are farmed for dairy and meat. Yet she was, and still remains, an ultimate symbol of motherly love, of strength beyond words, and of the ability to forgive and find hope in a world that's so often too dark. 

- Lisa Selvaggio

Video featuring Hope and her FTA friends by DIGImmortal Photo & Video

Monday, March 18, 2013

Do YOU Want to Make a Difference?

Why is it that, when people see images of cruelty being inflicted upon cats and dogs, they get angry and they say that the individual(s) responsible should be punished, yet when they see images of cruelty to farm animals or fur animals, they turn away and don’t want to know about it so that they can continue consuming products made from those animas? 

Because humans are nothing more than conditioned robots. You do what you’re conditioned to do, believe what you’re conditioned to believe, think and feel what you are conditioned to think and feel. Only when you step out of those boundaries, out of those constraints, do you awaken and become truly human.  

So, what do you say? How about we punish those who inflict harm upon and kill thousands of farm animals each day? How about we send them to court along with others who profit off meat and fur? Because, really, what’s the difference? An animal is an animal, whether they live in your home or not. 

Well, the great thing is, you don’t have to wait for the laws to change or for the courts to punish. Your buying decisions are how you can hurt the industries and people who profit off animals. It takes a little more work than ranting about the situation and hoping someone else steps in, because it’s your choices, your information, your power that does the work. But it’s worth it.  

The harsh reality is that, unless you change the way you do things in your everyday life, nothing will change. The industries and the politicians are all stacked up against the animals, and they support only those who make money off animals that are raised on farms of any kind, whether it’s a dairy farm, a factory farm for meat, or a fur farm. So if you want to extend your compassion to those animals that you don’t call “pets,” you really have to do your fair share of the work. You can’t just wait around for things to change, because they won’t. They just won’t. Not as long as animals can serve as profits for people.  

So how do you go about changing the world with your actions and your buying power? First off, go vegan. This may turn you off in the beginning, but it really is the only way to save those animals. Don’t believe the lies behind “humanely raised farm animals,” because, in the end, they all end up in the same slaughterhouses, and there’s no such thing as humane slaughter, especially not with the types of people who work in those places, who get a rise out of torturing animals. But by choosing to be vegan, you have to change your entire lifestyle. You have to commit to not consuming or using any animal by-products, from the glycerin in your soap that was tested on animals in a lab, to the leather in your coat.
Money talks. We’ve always known that. So let it do the talking for you, if you really care. If you really want to change the world and leave a positive mark behind. 

- Lisa Selvaggio

Monday, November 28, 2011

What It Means to Be Human

      I’m still trying to figure out what it means to be human.  Not in the sense that I’m trying to figure out who I am or where my passions lie.  No, career and jobs and money and material possessions matter so little in the end; we all know that, despite some of us striving after them without relent.  The question really is: what’s the purpose of our species, when there are so many of us who are cruel and abusive to one another, animals, and even the planet?  Deepak Chopra once said that the aspect of humanity that is truly unique and interesting is that we have the divine and diabolical within us.  So there’s the potential for timeless art to come from our hands, the ability to create music that appeals to us even centuries after it’s been written, even the minds to write about love and beauty in ways that are works of art in themselves.  And then there’s the potential for heinous cruelty; for shooting a dog in both eyes and leaving him to die, for force-feeding chemicals to cats, for hunting and killing wolves and elk by making excuses from their “overpopulation” or eating of our vegetation, for drilling into the Earth for natural gas with no regard for the consequences, or for tearing into mountains for gems.  All of these examples are real cases, ongoing cases, of destruction caused by humans.  There are those humans who use their imaginations to destroy instead of create because they decided to put a price tag on the resources of the planet and the animals we are blessed to share it with.  I fit into the puzzle because I am human, and yet I feel so unlike a human because I cannot identify or agree with most of what we do.
      I can only conclude that the evil ones, and the ones driven by money and status, are missing out.  They are driven by man-made societal norms (the big house, the expensive car, the 6-figure salary, the fancy title, etc.).  I wonder.  Do they love so dangerously that it can drive them mad; that they can put all of their heart and soul into loving another, much like Petrarch would write in his sonnets?  Can they look into another being’s eyes and see the whole universe inside them, the dark blue or black of the pupil reflecting the backdrop of the stars?  Can they derive any amount of peace or inspiration from as simple a scene as birds adrift in flight?  Do they comprehend the energy inherent in all the things on this planet, from the stones to the trees?  I say they cannot, they must not.  Because if they did, the animals wouldn’t be skinned alive or electrocuted through the anus for their fur to line a coat on a designer runway for Fashion Week.  If they did, the mountains would be revered, not torn apart to build “McMansions” upon.  If they had a glimmer of true awakening, they wouldn’t dare take another bite of flesh from another animal, nor use chemicals to control the harvest whilst killing birds or rodents or ungulates.  The rhinos wouldn’t have gone extinct because humans need their horns to sell for money.  Superstitions and ancient so-called medicines would not dictate that an animal should be killed for its parts, as in the Asian tiger trade.  No, instead humans would appreciate the land that gives life.  The skies would be clear of pollution and the rains wouldn’t be acidic.  The water sources wouldn’t be tainted or dried up.  Instead, we would farm the land with the reverence it deserves and requires.  We would understand how to work with the cycles of the natural world and wouldn’t crave more than we need. 
      In our expanding first-world, we have created so many material comforts and medical advancements that we should be proud of and we should share.  And yet, with these accomplishments have come sins of excess, of throwing away, of closed-mindedness and selfishness, taking more than what we need simply for the sake of saying we have it.  It’s an addiction that is so hard to cure.  I live within this world, and I fight these addictions, too.  And I know when I am truly happy, and I realize that the outside world, with its finances and taxation and “made in China” goods and big business will not let me rest. 
      Humanity could have had it like the other beings of this Earth.  We could have truly “inherited the Earth” as we were supposed to, and used it in an unselfish manner that bred life instead of death.  Instead, we chose the ruling class, the upper class, the politics, the economy, the social dictation of right and wrong, the classrooms, and the organized religions.  Instead of freedom, we chose bondage within the confines of groups, races, classes, beliefs.  We separated ourselves from one another and from the planet and its gifts.  And the ones, like myself, who awake from the dream of illusions, struggle against those still forcing their way to the top that doesn’t exist.  And the ones like me look on and question, wonder, imagine what could’ve been.  We face adversity, judgments, and isolation, and yet we find an even greater connection than could be imagined with all else, from the spiritual to the animal to the elements.  For us---the disillusioned, the lovers, the ones who ignore those diabolical inclinations that make us human---the Earth protects us and the animals are kin.  Nor do we struggle to be better than the next guy, we just simply want to make our way.  And I suppose that I have thus answered my own question, for that is what it means to be human.  And though there are few of us amidst the drones that think they represent what this animal we are should be, we are the ones who have been blessed with true wisdom and inner peace, disrupted only by the need to help others achieve the same realization.         

- Lisa Selvaggio

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


      Most of the time, when you’re an animal rights advocate, you find yourself feeling very discouraged and helpless. It always seems like there is more work to do but not enough people to do it, and it’s especially hard when you want to help but can’t for whatever reason. In the end, though, there are solutions to many of the problems faced by people in the animal rights movement. Implementing these solutions is the struggle. The reason for the struggle is usually attributed to lack of support from legislators, and too many animal-abusing corporations lobbying and pretty much buying their way into laws that support what they do and disregard the efforts of the good people who are fighting for those who have no voice.
       The first step for anyone who cares about animals is pretty obvious, and that is to become vegan, avoiding all or as many animal products as possible. This doesn’t just mean not eating meat and dairy products. Being vegan goes far beyond that, into purchasing goods that were not tested on animals and contain no animal by-products. It’s a lot of hard work, with research and budgeting, at first, to figure out how to replace everything from your kitchen cabinet to your medicine cabinet, but in the end, you know that you’re purchasing products that aren’t just better for the animals, but better for you and the planet on a whole. Yet, there are plenty of people who support animal rights and don’t have the wherewithal to go vegan. I could go into all the excuses I’ve heard, all the misinformation that people have absorbed and taken as gospel. These people may support conservation of certain wild animals, or they may volunteer in an animal shelter, and that’s wonderful, but they could take their activism a giant leap forward by going vegetarian, if not vegan. At that point, in their daily actions, they would be contributing to the lives of all animals, from those that are farmed to those that are affected by the environmental destruction caused by factory farms, to those dogs, cats, primates, etc. that are tested on in research labs, and those animals used for entertainment in circuses, for example. Going vegan is the first step in ending the suffering and exploitation of animals around the globe. Being vegan doesn’t stop at saving some species; it saves all species. A ¼ cup serving of red lentils contains 13 grams of protein. A ½ cup of black beans contains 15% of your DV for iron. Supplements and fortified foods provide Vitamin B12. Pursued correctly, a vegan diet can provide far greater benefits than an omnivorous one. Once we get rid of the misinformation that’s been put out there by the profit-hungry meat and dairy lobbies, more people will see even more reason to go vegan.
       But what I really want to focus on in this article is a solution to the overpopulation of dogs and cats in shelters across the nation, and around the world. Every year, millions of animals are euthanized in kill shelters just in the U.S., and it seems like every few weeks, a new headline appears that exposes these shelters’ cruel, unsanitary, inhumane practices, often involving workers doing horrendous things like using a kitten as target practice. Going vegan won’t solve this problem, unfortunately. Much more needs to be done for these animals.
       With a degree in Business, a certification in Non-Profit Management, and a genuinely entrepreneurial spirit, I would love to find my way into a career that has me working with animals in a shelter. Problem is, I don’t have the strength in my heart to work in a government-funded kill shelter. I firmly believe that you need to have a cold heart to work in those kinds of places, and that is probably why so many stories of abuse and ill treatment abound from these pseudo-shelters. I will never discount, however, the genuine people who work at kill shelters and who post about urgent animals on social networking sites in order to coordinate rescue before the animals are killed. Healthy, vibrant creatures are put down every day, oftentimes for no reason other than lack of space. Kittens that aren’t yet weaned are put to sleep along with their mothers, and pregnant dogs and cats are seen as a burden and euthanized, never given a second chance. Decisions are made to put down an animal if s/he merely catches a cold, easily cured by some antibiotics. It seems that any excuse to euthanize is used. Yet the public, perhaps ignorant to all of this, continues to surrender animals, whether their own pets they no longer care for or strays off the streets, to kill shelters, where they are most likely doomed to die. Better they had stayed on the streets, wouldn’t you say?
       Although there are no-kill shelters and a growing movement towards a no-kill society, these smaller shelters tend to run solely on a few dedicated volunteers and donations. What you’ll often find is that no-kill shelters don’t have enough money, especially these days, to rent a brick-and-mortar location. Even the ones that are lucky enough to find space to house their animals don’t always have paid employees. But these are the true shelters, the havens until these animals find their forever homes, and sometimes the homes of animals who cannot find adopters. Some animals spend their entire lives in these places, thanks to the love and consideration of the people who implement these no-kill policies. Given love, freedom time outside cages, and adequate nutrition and socialization, these animals are able to comfortably live their lives at these shelters, for as long as necessary. But we need more of them, a lot more. We can’t just convert the kill shelters into no-kills because disaster will ensue when these places become overpopulated (and possibly unsanitary and inhumane all over again) and too many animals would then need to be turned away. So we need more facilities, more places people can bring animals to be sheltered and cared for indefinitely in the most humane ways.
       Would it be possible to change the ways of our society and convert all the kill shelters into no-kill facilities? Would it be possible to take the funding provided to kill shelters and put it towards no-kill environments? Can we get more government funding to open more no-kill shelters? Can we funnel more funding toward small non-profit businesses, and less money and bailouts toward banks and corporations? Can we actually create jobs by employing workers in these new no-kill shelters, screening them more stringently while providing more oversight for the welfare of the animals? Is it possible for our government to step in for once in favor of the animals and not against them? Can we help our economy by creating jobs for individuals—there are so many out there—who want to work in animal care? These are possible solutions, just ideas. Again, the hardest part is making the changes.
       Trap-Neuter-Return also works. Colonies of feral cats are able to live out their lives after being spayed and neutered, and there’s no need to take them to shelters to be killed after a few weeks, or days, even. Before cats were domesticated, they were wild. Opponents say TNR works at the detriment of wild bird populations. But what if we provided wild birds with more nesting places, more trees, maybe put some food out for them, provide them with more habitat since we take so much away? Small, manageable cat colonies that will eventually die away because they’ve been neutered cannot compare to the destruction caused by humans, with their towering buildings of glass that lead to deadly collisions, for example, or the pollution of land and water with pesticides and herbicides.
       Yet another problem that leads to the overpopulation of domesticated animals is people who breed their pets for profits. It is certainly bad enough that breeding mills haven’t yet been made illegal. Can we get stronger laws in place that will require pet owners to spay/neuter their pets to avoid so much breeding, especially the accidental breeding that leads people to dump the animals they don’t want to care for? Can we also entice the public to adopt instead of buy animals from pet stores that are supplied by mills by telling them about all the purebreds they crave being available in shelters too?
       John Lennon used to say, “There are no problems, only solutions.” This article serves up some of my ideas, however small or grandiose. However theoretical, who knows, maybe they’ll be possible one day, if we all work on them together. What are your ideas for saving the lives of more animals? Let’s work together to actually do something. Scholars have said for centuries that humanity must evolve towards a way of life that does not involve consuming or controlling animals. How much longer must we all wait? But what can we all do in the meantime?   

- Lisa Selvaggio

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sealing My Philosophy

      Images of seals beaten to death—hooks in their skin, clubs to their skulls until they collapse in on themselves—are strewn about the social networking pages in hopes of spreading awareness. Herds of seals cornered, away from the sea, surrounded by ruthless humans, awaiting their slaughter with no escape. The blood pours and covers the ground. Age is not significant, but the young are sometimes targeted in particular. This is the seal hunt. And it doesn’t just happen in Canada. This is the ritual slaughter of harmless, sentient creatures. For fur. For things like supposed performance enhancers. For no good reason at all except the selfishness and heartlessness of humanity.
      And the seal numbers dwindle. So what comes next? What comes after we have exhausted the population until it is no more? What will we target, for our fashion, for our superstitions? In the meantime, the animals are used as products of a “free market,” treated as though their skin doesn’t feel the pain of the hook blade piercing through one end and out the other; as if their brains cannot comprehend death, nor their nervous systems the fear; treated as if their blood is not like the blood of a human’s, piping through an intricate system of organs and tissue to sustain the body that, in many ways, exceeds the abilities of humans. The pup is picked up, slammed to the ground until it is unconscious, clubbed until the spirit leaves the vessel behind. Hundreds of thousands at a time.
      Yet, people wonder why we treat one another with such hatred, why there’s so much negativity in this world, why we cannot find peace, why our lives continue to get harder, why the animals fear us, why the environment is struggling to sustain us. It is because we find it necessary to dominate, not just the planet, not just the wild, but each other. Sexism, racism, speciesism are all connected, even though some people will argue that they’re not. They’re all connected because they all boil down to the same common notion that, although we are all equal—just spirits or energies taking on different bodily forms upon this plane of existence—we are different, and one gender is better than the other, or one race is stronger than another, or one animal is less deserving of life than another.
      In the end, no matter what form of life your spirit chose to manifest in this time around, you are equal—no better, no lesser—to the birds that take flight amidst the clouds or the seals that fly under the waves. This is my philosophy, and I have thankfully met many others who feel the same.
      So the seal hunt, and humanity’s barbarism in general, cannot end until we all awaken to the fact that we are not better. Just equals. And there is nothing wrong with that. Only in equality and openness can we find harmony and balance.

- Lisa Selvaggio

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Dysfunctional Family?

            Headlines abound with horrific tales of animal cruelty.  There is the dog who got his head sliced off by a chainsaw, the starved dog thrown down a garbage chute, the cat that was dipped in tar whose nose and mouth were burned off.  These stories seem unreal, straight out of a horror movie, but the unfortunate truth is that they are real, and these kinds of things happen every day in every part of the world.  If you have enough animal activists and rescues on your Facebook page, you’re sure to see a steady stream of nightmarish headlines all day every day, right there alongside the “urgent” animals found in shelters across America whose hours are numbered if they’re not pulled in time.  We sit hopelessly at our computer screens wondering what more we can do besides spread the news, donate funds and supplies, and, if possible, rescue animals ourselves.  How can we influence politicians to make and enforce laws that are there for the protection of animals?  How can we make sure that the abusers are put to justice; that someday animal abusers will be punished the same way “people abusers” are?  How can we wake up more people to the fact that all animals are sentient beings?
            One scary element of the animal rights movement is the various factions within it.  For a movement that is working toward establishing rights for all animals and ending speciesism across the globe, we sure do know how to fight with one another. 
            Recently, Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, FL came under fire when news hit that they were feeding live domesticated rabbits to the big cats.  Videos on YouTube showed the big cats, including lions, tigers, and bobcats, eating dead rabbits or chasing after live ones, and Carole Baskin, the founder of BCR, went on the news to state that they do indeed breed rodents such as rats and rabbits to be used for food and training purposes prior to releasing some of the cats.  Apparently, BCR has a shady past (read what Baskin admitted herself here).  As someone who donated to and visited the sanctuary, I was very interested in finding out some information on Baskin and the creation of her sanctuary.  What I found was information that led me to believe she created the sanctuary after having had the land for her own personal collection of exotics.  Whether she had a change of heart or she had a change in her business plan, it is news that makes you question who these people really are and what their true intentions were and still are.  Plenty of non-profits, large and small, have been exposed for their lies and secrets, and they don’t always prove themselves as genuine as they would like to seem.  Nevertheless, I digress, as my personal opinion of BCR is not relevant to the argument I’m trying to make here.
            As soon as word spread that docile, tame rabbits were being fed to the cats, “rabbit groups” started attacking BCR and anyone who supports the organization at this point.  Vegans started calling the rabbit rescuers crazy, negating any claims they made and immediately assuming incorrectly that they wanted the cats to be fed a vegetarian or vegan diet.  Of course, there was the argument that these meat-eaters were only fighting for the rights of the cuddly rabbits, ignoring the needs of the big cats. 
            The big cat vs. rabbits debate is just one example of clashes that occur regularly within the AR movement.  While real abuse is going on, we fight each other from within, wasting precious time.  While we debate one another, we should be debating non-vegans or people working in industries that exploit animals.  While we sit on Facebook watching the newsfeed for updates on our last comment, we should be educating ourselves on ways to make a difference for animals.  In the end, we’re all in this together; we’re all working towards the same goal.  It’s necessary to call out an organization that is unjustly profiting (read: exploiting the animals in its supposed care) from trusting donors, and it’s important to really research an organization to make sure it really does have integrity, but where do we draw the line and reach a compromise?  At what point will BCR understand that perhaps it isn’t right to feed live rabbits that are domesticated as pets to big cats when there are alternatives?  At what point will people who fight for domesticated animals recognize the need to go vegan and fight for all animals, not just the ones you can keep at home?  And at what point will they understand that animal rescue, when it comes to wild animals and obligate carnivores, is not easy and certainly a double-edged sword when it comes to vegans doing the rescuing?  We sometimes have to put our own needs aside to make sure the animals are receiving the diet, lifestyle, and care they need.   
            I don’t have the answers to these problems.  All I know is that, many times, the problem with the AR movement is that it involves people, and until we truly come together and stop fighting with each other, no progress will be made.  Whether it is a rat, a lion, a seal, a cow, or a dog, every animal deserves to have rights that protect it from abuse and bring the abusers to justice.  That is the ultimate goal and we should stay focused on that.  I’m sure we can all name organizations whose practices we don’t agree with.  Again, while it’s important to call them out on their hypocrisy or poor decision-making as we educate others about these issues, if they are doing something positive in the grand scheme of things, we should be trying to get them to change their ways by approaching them in a kind and mature fashion, not by attacking them with insults and creating disharmony. 
            Because while we bicker amongst one another, another animal is beaten to death, another is sent to slaughter within days of its birth, and another is skinned alive.  And all the arguing was for naught.  It’s time the AR movement got its priorities straight and focused on getting out there and doing something positive rather than sitting behind a computer screen arguing for days over a social networking site.  In the end, it’s all for the animals and it’s up to us, measly humans, to save them.   

- Lisa Selvaggio

(Originally Posted 3/21/11)

For the Animals...Sanctuary

            Winter on the mountains always seems to arrive more swiftly than below.  The Autumn slinks away without a fight, taking with it the last remaining shreds of warmth, leaving behind the desolate trees against the gray-colored sky.  I am at For the Animals Sanctuary in Blairstown, NJ, filming the animals enjoying the open space of their pasture for a documentary I am helping with that will give them a voice, tell their stories of horror and eventual rescue.  Before long, my gloved fingers and my toes go numb from the frigid morning.  Filming will have to stop now that the flurries have started to descend.  The animals seem unaffected but I am clearly not built for this.
            In the few visits I have made thus far to the sanctuary, it has become clear just how much work is involved in caring for farm animals.  It’s an endless task that, once finished, has to be started over again.  The barns need to be kept clean, food and water provided, the waste cleared away, and all the other obvious chores you would imagine.  The animals are in need of constant care, including medication and maintenance, such as trimming of hooves.  In addition, the cows are extremely powerful and could injure a human with ease if they chose to, so one must be aware and respectful towards these creatures by approaching with caution.  As a vegan, the idea of owning an animal sanctuary is always appealing because the heart is in the matter and you want to do all you can to be a part of these animals’ lives.  But reality certainly hits—a gut check, so to speak—when you see exactly what goes into running a place like this.  Would I be cut out for this kind of work?  Not at this point in my life, that’s for sure.  And that kind of honesty is okay.  I can help the animals in countless other ways.  But in this honesty, I also find that I have an immeasurable level of respect for Debbie and Steve, the owners of the sanctuary, who have devoted their lives to these animals.
            Although For the Animals is small and relatively new (having been founded in 2007) compared to other larger, more well known sanctuaries, with ten goats, three cows, one bull, four pigs, and four hens, it is a full-time job.  Debbie and Steve run fundraisers throughout the year and host work parties, days on which volunteers can help clean out the stables and provide some much needed help, but other than that, all the work is done exclusively by themselves.  There are no vacations in sight now that they share their home with rescued farm animals who cost thousands of dollars per month to maintain and who can only be properly cared for by this husband-and-wife team.  They both work full-time jobs, even though Steve could easily retire, in order to have enough of their own money to fund the sanctuary aside from relying on donations.
            Farms litter the landscape leading up to the sanctuary—farms that feature cows grazing that will be sent to slaughter.  A group of Black Angus cattle are spotted as I ride past, and I note a baby, probably only a couple of weeks old, sitting in the grass.  He or she won’t last long.  Debbie and Steve can vouch for the uninterrupted rotation of animals as they are seen for a short period of time before never being seen again.  In contrast, the constancy of the handful of animals at the sanctuary is comforting, especially as you get to know their unique personalities and quirks, whether it’s Amy sneaking up behind you and gently nudging you or Hope licking your hand with her thick pink tongue, and I do hope that Steve and Debbie will be able to rescue many more.  Because I cannot forget the calf, resting in the grass, his lovely black coat, his small frame.  I cannot ignore his fate.
The selfless work that Debbie and Steve do is beyond commendable.  There are no words to show my appreciation for their dedication and ability to start this completely from scratch and learning along the way.  That’s what it means, though, to be a true vegan: to take your lifestyle a giant leap forward, into hands-on care of the sick, the outcast, the nearly dead brought back to life.  People on the frontline like Steve and Debbie are inspiring and deserve all the help they can get, because they are heroes, not only to the animals but to fellow vegans seeking justice for the voiceless. 

- Lisa Selvaggio

*Please click here to learn more about the "For the Animals Sanctuary Documentary" and to donate to the project.

(Originally Posted 12/4/10)